LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9, 2020
When Freda met Johnny –Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis, that is - chemistry and musicality abounded as they breathed delicious life into George & Ira Gershwin's classic, "They Can't Take That Away From Me." As tantalizing sneak peek evidence of Freda Payne's first project since 2014's acclaimed Come Back to Me Love, the sound of these legends' voices together on one mic for the first time anywhere/anytime is a treat for the ears and hearts of all, arriving just in time to warm them for the holidays…a season of love, sharing and wistfulness as special for the singers as it is their ardent fans.
"I was so happy that he agreed to do it," Freda delights beaming! "Many singers request for Johnny to sing duets but he doesn't grant that wish for everybody. I thought I was more honored to work with him but he was honored, too - tickled and honored. It reminded me of when David Gest and I saw his show at The Mirage in Las Vegas then went backstage with Steve Wynn and his wife to say hello. When Johnny came out to greet us, I was so in awe…but he was giving me waves and bows of playful 'I'm not worthy!" It touched me so to see that he was not afraid to give kudos to others. So, when I saw him walking down the halls of Capitol Records in Hollywood into 'Studio A,' I was like, 'He has arrived – thank you Jesus!' It was lovely recording our vocals perched on stools side by side."
Producer Rodrigo Rios had the idea for Freda to cover "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and to sing it as a duet with Mr. Mathis. He handled the business overtures himself and, once Mathis graciously accepted, Rios turned to Grammy-winner Gordon Goodwin to pen the arrangement and bring in his Big Phat Band to accompany them. Everything came together like hands in silk gloves – with charm and grace as the pair glided smoothly through the time-kissed melody.
"They Can't Take That Away From Me" is a 1937 popular song with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin that went on to become a Jazz standard and a chestnut of The Great American Songbook. It was introduced by Fred Astaire in the film "Shall We Dance" singing on the foggy deck of a New Jersey to Manhattan ferry to Ginger Rogers who remains silent listening throughout. No dance sequence follows which was unusual for the Astaire-Rogers numbers (though they did dance to it later in their final/reunion musical, "The Barkleys of Broadway" for MGM in 1949). Subsequent recordings of note range from the groundbreaking Charlie Parker with Strings LP in 1950 to Frank Sinatra in 1954, and Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong in 1956.
Now Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis add their magical and heartwarming spin on the gem for a new generation to swoon over and enjoy!
"They Can't Take That Away From Me" was produced by Rodrigo Rios, co-produced by Freda Payne and executive produced by James M. Goetz. It will be released in November via The Sound of L.A. Records with distribution, marketing and promotion handled by company proprietors Michael & Anissa Sutton. https://www.thesoundofla.com/freda-payne-and-johnny-mathis